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The 30 Best Games on PlayStation 2

PlayStation 2 console

The 30 Best Games on PlayStation 2

Sony’s follow-up to the groundbreaking PlayStation and second iteration of the hardware would go on to become the best-selling video game console of all time, with the PlayStation 2 moving upwards of 160 million units worldwide. That staggering success would have never been possible were it not for an incredible software library, with several of the best PlayStation 2 games going down in history as some of the best titles in the medium. Like the original PlayStation, PlayStation 2 was host to a score of newfound experiences that had never before been possible in interactive media, continuing to push the envelope of what was possible in a video game and further establishing that the medium itself was growing up alongside the players.

30. Maximo: Ghosts to Glory

Maximo box art and gameplay

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  • Release Date — February 11, 2002
  • Publisher/Developer — Capcom/Capcom Digital Studios
  • Review Aggregate Score — 84% (Generally Favorable)

The 5th and 6th console generations would end up being host to several 3D reimaginings of franchises that had cut their teeth on the NES and SNES, and Maximo: Ghosts to Glory is a 3D Ghosts n’ Goblins in everything but name. Between the iconic visuals and music from Capcom’s legendarily difficult action platformer, as well as some familiar stage designs and enemies, Maximo is a bit of fan service disguising itself as a new original IP. Regardless, Maximo is an excellent 3D action platformer that mixes the combat and platforming of Super Ghouls n’ Ghosts with an updated 3D aesthetic and more forgiving difficulty, making it the perfect jumping-on point in the franchise before attempting the tougher 8 and 16-bit games.

29. Kingdom Hearts

Kingdom Hearts box art and gameplay

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  • Release Date — September 16, 2002
  • Publisher/Developer — Square/Square
  • Review Aggregate Score — 85% (Generally Favorable)

It’s no surprise that Square’s Kingdom Hearts would go on to become one of the company’s flagship franchises given its premise. Originally billed as “Final Fantasy meets Disney”, Kingdom Hearts is slightly different from that initial description but not by much. What sets the title apart from its contemporaries in the Square catalog at the time of its release is its embracing of real-time combat. Its ability to utilize a wide variety of iconic Disney locations from across the company’s animated films allows the game to really tap into gamers’ imagination and half a century of pop culture like no other title before it or since (save for the myriad Kingdom Hearts sequels and spin-offs). Kingdom Hearts is one of the PS2’s greatest ARPGs and an important foundation for one of Square’s most popular franchises.

28. Onimusha: Warlords

Onimusha box art and gameplay

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  • Release Date — March 13, 2001
  • Publisher/Developer — Capcom/Capcom
  • Review Aggregate Score — 86% (Generally Favorable)

Capcom’s Onimusha: Warlords is one of many titles the publisher/developer would release during the long wait for Resident Evil 4, and it’s one of the few games on the PS2 (except for maybe Resident Evil – CODE: Veronica X) to embrace the old-school survival-horror template championed by the first three games in the Resident Evil franchise. Taking place in feudal Japan during the conquest of Oda Nobunaga during the 16th Century, Onimusha mixes history and the supernatural to transport players into a mythical Japanese setting and then lets them loose with a variety of melee weapons and magic spells to take down demons instead of the Resident Evil franchise’s guns and grenades. Onimusha would spawn two sequels and a handful of spin-offs, but the original medieval Japanese survival-horror title is still the best of the pack.

27. Silent Hill 2

Silent Hill 2 box art and gameplay

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  • Release Date — September 24, 2001
  • Publisher/Developer — Konami/Team Silent
  • Review Aggregate Score — 89% (Generally Favorable)

Similar to Resident Evil 2, Silent Hill 2 would eventually go down as the best entry in Konami’s survival-horror franchise because of how it expands on the original formula. Now playing as new protagonist James Sunderland, players venture into the mysterious town of Silent Hill to uncover a mystery surrounding a letter that James has received from his deceased wife beckoning him to the waterside hamlet. While the gameplay in Silent Hill 2 is largely the same as the original Silent Hill with some quality-of-life improvements and vastly upgraded visuals, it’s the story and atmosphere of the sequel that set it apart as the definitive title in the series. It is one of the few titles utilizing psychological horror that can induce so much dread as to force players to turn the game off for a reprieve.

26. Bully

Bully box art and gameplay

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  • Release Date — October 17, 2006
  • Publisher/Developer — Rockstar Games/Rockstar Vancouver
  • Review Aggregate Score — 87% (Generally Favorable)

Rockstar Games has never been a stranger to controversy, but Bully saw the developer under fire like never before. While media pundits and politicians painted Bully as “Grand Theft Auto in schools” and likened it to being a school violence simulator, the reality is that Rockstar Vancouver’s open-world schoolyard game is one of the more charming and entertaining titles in the Rockstar PS2 catalog. Though it does tend to follow the general open-world design template that Grand Theft Auto III introduced, Bully is much more of a social simulator and even has its fair share of RPG-style mechanics and progression at play in how players grow and develop protagonist Jimmy and impact his time at Bullworth Academy. And, outside of a few fistfights, there’s not much violence to speak of.

25. Sly 2: Band of Thieves

Sly 2 box art and gameplay

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  • Release Date — September 14, 2004
  • Publisher/Developer — Sony Computer Entertainment/Sucker Punch Productions
  • Review Aggregate Score — 88% (Generally Favorable)

The original Sly Cooper game was an excellent blending of 3D platformer and stealth action with a captivating cel-shaded art style, and the sequel only doubles down on the elements that made the original such a success. Sly 2: Band of Thieves features a more inventive level design, better stealth sequences, and less of an emphasis on platforming in place of a greater emphasis on action and sneaking. Essentially, Sly 2 can be thought of as a prototypical Assassin’s Creed game, and it’s telling that Sucker Punch’s Ghost of Tsushima features such excellent stealth mechanics, putting lessons learned from the excellent Sly Cooper trilogy to good use.

24. Red Faction

Red Faction box art and gameplay

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  • Release Date — May 22, 2001
  • Publisher/Developer — THQ/Volition
  • Review Aggregate Score — 88% (Generally Favorable)

Volition’s Red Faction is arguably the title that finishes what GoldenEye 007 started. Arriving on the PS2 at a time when PC gamers had access to the best FPS titles and console owners were largely left wanting, Red Faction makes excellent use of the PS2’s DualShock controller to become one of the first console FPS titles emulating the action of playing using a mouse and keyboard (with the left stick responsible for WASD movement and strafing and the right analog stick responsible for aiming). Revolutionary control scheme aside, Red Faction‘s destructible environments, tight shooting mechanics, and excellent Total Recall-style story set on Mars make it an unmissable FPS experience on the PS2 that only continues to get better with age.

23. Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy

Jak and Daxter box art and gameplay

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  • Release Date — December 4, 2001
  • Publisher/Developer — Sony Computer Entertainment/Naughty Dog
  • Review Aggregate Score — 90% (Universal Acclaim)

The PS2 was home to a slew of excellent 3D platformers that aimed to finally see Sony’s hardware catch up to the plethora of excellent genre titles on the Nintendo 64, and Jak and Daxter is one of the best of the bunch and a worthy successor to the Crash Bandicoot legacy. Each of the Jak games differs in terms of its gameplay focus, and the first game in the series (Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy) is perhaps the purest 3D platformer in the trilogy. Levels are beautifully designed and feature plenty of compelling collectibles and challenges to complete, and the animations and traversal mechanics give the title that signature Naughty Dog polish that fans have now come to expect.

22. Ico

Ico box art and gameplay

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  • Release Date — September 24, 2001
  • Publisher/Developer — Sony Computer Entertainment/Japan Studio, Team Ico
  • Review Aggregate Score — 90% (Universal Acclaim)

Ico is one of the few launch titles for the PS2 whose legacy would loom large over both the console and the gaming industry as a whole. Part Legend of Zelda and part Studio Ghibli, Ico tasks players with escorting a princess around a mysterious castle and features some of the most breathtaking visuals and atmosphere of any PS2 game, regardless of its early arrival on the console. The core of Ico is the emotional tale that it tells and the bonds that players will inevitably form with both the protagonist and his companion, and getting to watch that journey unfold in the context of an amazing action-adventure game is one of the PS2’s greatest experiences.

21. Twisted Metal: Black

Twisted Metal: Black box art and gameplay

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  • Release Date — June 18, 2001
  • Publisher/Developer — Sony Computer Entertainment/Incog Inc. Entertainment
  • Review Aggregate Score — 91% (Universal Acclaim)

Most of the flagship first-party Sony franchises would make a return on the PS2, but perhaps none surpass their PS1 originals quite like Twisted Metal: Black. After 989’s tutelage over the Twisted Metal franchise had seen it turn into something of a self-parody, Incognito Inc. Entertainment (headed by original Twisted Metal creator David Jaffe) triumphantly returned the series to its dark, Mad Max-inspired post-apocalyptic roots with the excellent Twisted Metal: Black. The roster of Black is one of the best in the series, bringing together both newcomers to the Twisted Metal tournament and some of its most notorious past competitors, and the improvements to visuals and performance made possible by the PS2 hardware make Twisted Metal: Black one of the best-looking car combat games ever made.

20. Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal

Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal box art and gameplay

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  • Release Date — November 3, 2004
  • Publisher/Developer — Sony Computer Entertainment/Insomniac Games
  • Review Aggregate Score — 91% (Universal Acclaim)

Along with Jak and Daxter and Sly Cooper, Insomniac’s Ratchet & Clank series rounds out the trilogy of excellent first-party 3D platformers on the PS2. The best game in the franchise’s PS2 era is undoubtedly the third title in the series, 2004’s Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal. In addition to the excellent single-player story and improved roster of off-the-wall weaponry at the heroes’ disposal, Up Your Arsenal has an amazing online multiplayer mode (a first for the series) that makes it the definitive Ratchet & Clank game on PS2. The visuals and scope of Up Your Arsenal may also be a massive improvement over the first two games in the series, but it’s the competitive multiplayer that cements it as a must-have in the PS2 library.

19. Guitar Hero II

Guitar Hero II box art and gameplay

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  • Release Date — November 7, 2006
  • Publisher/Developer — RedOctane/Harmonix
  • Review Aggregate Score — 92% (Universal Acclaim)

Speaking of multiplayer games, few titles are as ubiquitous with the latter half of the PS2’s life cycle as Harmonix’s Guitar Hero. The first Guitar Hero was a smash success, taking the rhythm gameplay that Harmoix had pioneered and perfected with games like Amplitude and Frequency and melding it with Red Octane’s distinctive guitar controller and a slew of iconic licensed tracks. Guitar Hero II only ups the ante, with a better tracklist, stronger multiplayer mode, and slight improvements to the overall presentation and style. For a window of time, nearly everyone with a PS2 had Guitar Hero or its amazing sequel, cementing the franchise as a fixture of the mid-aughts.

18. Virtua Fighter 4

Virtua Fighter 4 box art and gameplay

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  • Release Date — March 17, 2002
  • Publisher/Developer — Sega/Sega AM2
  • Review Aggregate Score — 94% (Universal Acclaim)

Sega’s Virtua Fighter 4 would end up being one of the first titles the company would bring to the PlayStation 2 after the downfall of the Sega Dreamcast and the cessation of its hardware business, but it also happens to remain one of the best fighting games on the console. Virtua Fighter 4 is noteworthy for being a near-perfect arcade port and one of the few fighting games on the PS2 that doesn’t have superior versions available on other consoles. The mechanics of Virtua Fighter 4 are incredibly complex, but the game’s low-skill floor and high-skill ceiling make it accessible and enjoyable for players of all skill levels.

17. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 box art and gameplay

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  • Release Date — October 30, 2001
  • Publisher/Developer — Activision/Neversoft
  • Review Aggregate Score — 97% (Universal Acclaim)

The peak of the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 takes all the refinements of the first two games in the series and adds in a few tricks of its own to be the last great title in the franchise before its eventual decline. The roster of available skaters (along with the ability to create your own custom avatar) is the largest in the series, the tracks continue to be inventive and exciting (Cruise Ship, anyone?), and the soundtrack, though not as good as the first two games, is chock-full of era-appropriate bangers from the worlds of rock, punk, metal, and hip-hop.

16. Final Fantasy X

Final Fantasy X box art and gameplay

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  • Release Date — December 17, 2001
  • Publisher/Developer — Square/Square Product Development Division 1
  • Review Aggregate Score — 92% (Universal Acclaim)

After a trilogy of amazing mainline entries on the PS1, Square had a high bar to clear with its first Final Fantasy for the PS2. Thankfully, Final Fantasy X more than clears that bar, smashing all expectations to be one of the best-looking and most emotionally poignant games in the series. The tale of Tidus and his allies aiding Yuna on her pilgrimage to stop Sin is one of the more tragic tales in the Final Fantasy series, and the game’s unique Asian-inspired setting and visuals (in stark contrast to the traditional Western medieval settings the series is known for) gives Final Fantasy X an atmosphere all its own that is both beautiful and melancholy. While the gameplay is fairly standard as far as the series is concerned, Final Fantasy X is noteworthy for being one of the last “classic”-style turn-based games in the series.

15. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time box art and gameplay

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  • Release Date — November 10, 2003
  • Publisher/Developer — Ubisoft/Ubisoft Montreal
  • Review Aggregate Score — 92% (Universal Acclaim)

Almost 15 years after the release of Jordan Mechner’s impeccable classic Prince of Persia, Ubisoft Montreal would revamp the franchise and introduce it to a whole new generation of players with the excellent Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. No longer a 2D physics-based puzzle platformer like the original, The Sands of Time sees the Prince of Persia franchise embrace full 3D and action platforming like never before, with a greater emphasis on combat to accompany its mind-bending and time-defying platforming challenges. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time would be the start of a new era for the franchise, and it stands tall as one of the best action-adventure games of the 6th generation.

14. SoulCalibur II

SoulCalibur II box art and gameplay

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  • Release Date — August 27, 2003
  • Publisher/Developer — Namco/Project Soul
  • Review Aggregate Score — 92% (Universal Acclaim)

The greatest fighting game on the PlayStation 2 (and quite possibly the greatest fighting game of the 6th generation), SoulCalibur II takes the full-3D arena fighting of its two predecessors (Soul Edge and the original SoulCalibur) and improves it through a slew of new updates and balance tweaks. The beauty of SoulCaliburII is in its accessibility and simplified control scheme, which creates a much lower barrier to entry but also punishes those who hope to button-mash their way to victory. The single-player story mode is worthwhile for unlocking additional characters and seeing how each fighter is impacted by their search for the legendary Soul Edge, but the multiplayer of SoulCalibur II is what makes it a necessity in any PS2 library.

13. Grand Theft Auto III

Grand Theft Auto III box art and gameplay

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  • Release Date — October 22, 2001
  • Publisher/Developer — Rockstar Games/DMA Design
  • Review Aggregate Score — 97% (Universal Acclaim)

Were it not for its being outclassed by the two sequels that follow it, Grand Theft Auto III would certainly rank much higher on a list of the best PS2 games. The pioneer of the modern open-world design template for action games, Grand Theft Auto III is a massive leap in scope, scale, and quality over the first two games in the franchise, delivering the most fully-realized criminal simulator and one of the most important games in the first years of the PS2’s life cycle. Grand Theft Auto III presents players with almost limitless freedom and challenges them to tap into their id in a way that few games before it had, and its runaway success and impact on the industry are still reverberating today.

12. Devil May Cry

Devil May Cry box art and gameplay

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  • Release Date — October 16, 2001
  • Publisher/Developer — Capcom/Capcom Production Studio 4
  • Review Aggregate Score — 94% (Universal Acclaim)

While the wait for Resident Evil 4 may have been a long and painful one, the silver lining is that we got Devil May Cry from it. The original version of Resident Evil 4 was envisioned as a medieval-style departure that placed a new hero into a castle filled with supernatural threats, and though those particular elements somewhat remain in the final release of the title, the flashy melee combat and emphasis on stylish takedowns do not. Hence, Devil May Cry would become its own standalone title and a separate entity within Capcom’s portfolio, helping to pioneer the character action genre and becoming a noteworthy franchise in its own right. The two Devil May Cry sequels on PS2 will forever live in the shadow of the amazing original, which feels like a better take on 3D Castlevania in all but name.

11. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City box art and gameplay

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  • Release Date — October 29, 2002
  • Publisher/Developer — Rockstar Games/Rockstar North
  • Review Aggregate Score — 95% (Universal Acclaim)

Just a year after blowing PS2 owners away with the groundbreaking Grand Theft Auto III, Rockstar would deliver one of the most impressive follow-ups of all time in the phenomenal Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. What makes Vice City so special is its faithfulness, accuracy, and reverence toward its 1980s Miami-inspired setting, pulling in so many in-jokes and references from the decade and its pop culture zeitgeist that it became the ultimate love letter to the era of excess. Aside from its incredible setting and atmosphere, Vice City makes some noteworthy improvements to the shooting, driving, and mission design of the Grand Theft Auto series, and its soundtrack still stands as the best OST in gaming and a treasure trove of the greatest music of the 1980s.

10. God of War II

God of War II box art and gameplay

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  • Release Date — March 13, 2007
  • Publisher/Developer — Sony Computer Entertainment/Santa Monica Studio
  • Review Aggregate Score — 93% (Universal Acclaim)

The God of War series practically came out of nowhere to become one of the biggest first-party Sony franchises, and the second game in the series is a bombastic statement of purpose. Where the first God of War introduced players to Kratos and his quest for revenge across a compelling character action game with an excellent Greek mythology backdrop, God of War II takes the series in exciting new directions through the introduction of bigger stakes, grander scale, more weapons, and more refined combat. Though it doesn’t have the same kind of “wow” factor that playing the original was able to elicit, God of War II is still one of the greatest character action games of all time.

9. Final Fantasy XII

Final Fantasy XII box art and gameplay

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  • Release Date — October 31, 2006
  • Publisher/Developer — Square Enix/Square Enix
  • Review Aggregate Score — 92% (Universal Acclaim)

Final Fantasy XII puts its RPG systems and gameplay front and center in a way that few games in the series do. While Final Fantasy X was more traditional from a gameplay perspective and placed a greater focus on its characters and story, Final Fantasy XII is a bold new step forward into the future of the franchise, spearheaded by none other than two of the most influential creators in Square Enix’s history. While Final Fantasy Tactics and Vagrant Story mastermind Yasumi Matsuno would outline the general scenario and plot for the title (as well as set it in the realm of Ivalice from the aforementioned games), Active-Time Battle system creator Hiroyuki Ito would direct and design. Accordingly, Final Fantasy XII‘s combat is some of the best in the series and a compelling mix of traditional gameplay and MMO-style commands.

8. Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty

Metal Gear Solid 2 box art and gameplay

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  • Release Date — November 12, 2001
  • Publisher/Developer — Konami/Konami Computer Entertainment Japan
  • Review Aggregate Score — 96% (Universal Acclaim)

Notoriously, Metal Gear Solid 2 pulls off one of the greatest “bait and switch” moments in all of gaming. Ahead of the title’s release, fans would be treated to promotional materials and trailers featuring Solid Snake reprising his role as the game’s hero, only for the player to control newcomer Raiden throughout the remaining 80% of the title’s campaign. While that initial reveal would feel like a betrayal to some, it’s a classic example of Kojima’s penchant for obfuscation, and Raiden ends up being a great character in his own right. Metal Gear Solid 2 looks and plays very similarly to the original Metal Gear Solid, but more Metal Gear Solid is hardly a bad thing. Most importantly, Metal Gear Solid 2 puts the pieces in place for the rest of the series’ mythology through its complex and intricate plot.

7. Shadow of the Colossus

Shadow of the Colossus box art and gameplay

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  • Release Date — October 18, 2005
  • Publisher/Developer — Sony Computer Entertainment/Japan Studio, Team Ico
  • Review Aggregate Score — 91% (Universal Acclaim)

After releasing one of the PS2’s best early games in the incredible Ico, Japan Studio and Team Ico would come full circle near the end of the PS2’s life cycle with the pivotal Shadow of the Colossus. While Shadow of the Colossus isn’t explicitly connected to Ico, the two games share a lot in common in terms of their aesthetic and atmosphere, and astute players will be able to pick up on the subtle clues and Easter Eggs that draw a line between the two titles. Outside of its amazing visuals and premise, Shadow of the Colossus features some of the most compelling action-adventure gameplay on the PS2 through its main loop of hunting, scaling, and besting each of the Forbidden Realm’s 16 Colossi.

6. Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec

Gran Turismo 3 box art and gameplay

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  • Release Date — July 9, 2001
  • Publisher/Developer — Sony Computer Entertainment/Polyphony Digital
  • Review Aggregate Score — 95% (Universal Acclaim)

While some would put Gran Turismo 4 above the third entry in the series simply for its improved visuals and better car roster, the importance of Gran Turismo 3 and its place as a system pack-in more than justify its inclusion on a list of best PS2 games over its successor. Gran Turismo 3 takes the excellent racing sim gameplay of the first two titles in the series and significantly improves the franchises’ already impressive visuals, resulting in Gran Turismo 3 looking just as good as it plays. For many PS2 owners, Gran Turismo 3 would end up being the first game they owned thanks to its presence as a pack-in during the first full year of the console’s life cycle, and it served as an immediate showcase for the power of the system.

5. Resident Evil 4

Resident Evil 4 box art and gameplay

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  • Release Date — October 25, 2005
  • Publisher/Developer — Capcom/Capcom Production Studio 4
  • Review Aggregate Score — 96% (Universal Acclaim)

Notoriously, Resident Evil 4 would begin and then restart development several times before actually settling on the version of the game we know and love today. Of course, those false starts and returns to the drawing board resulted in the final version of Resident Evil 4 becoming one of the greatest survival-horror and action games ever made, transforming the landscape of third-person shooters almost overnight and injecting a shot in the arm to the Resident Evil franchise. Though the title would initially arrive on GameCube, the PS2 version includes the excellent Separate Ways expansion starring Ada Wong, making it the definitive 6th generation version of the title.

4. Okami

Okami box art and gameplay

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  • Release Date — September 19, 2006
  • Publisher/Developer — Capcom/Clover Studio
  • Review Aggregate Score — 93% (Universal Acclaim)

Other than Shadow of the Colossus, perhaps no game in the PS2 library embodies the spirit of The Legend of Zelda quite like Okami. Taking place in a highly stylized vision of feudal Japan (complete with a breathtakingly beautiful Sumi-e art style), players get to control the sun god Amaterasu as it takes the corporeal form of a magical wolf, visiting local villages and helping to clear the land of demons in an effort to prevent an impending tragedy. In terms of its puzzle-solving, dungeons, and combat, Okami is heavily reminiscent of the best 3D Zelda games, but its charming characters, unique atmosphere, and signature art style make it a game that stands on its own two (or is it four?) feet. In all honesty, Okami is an action-adventure masterpiece that is not to be missed.

3. God of War

God of War box art and gameplay

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  • Release Date — March 22, 2005
  • Publisher/Developer — Sony Computer Entertainment/Santa Monica Studio
  • Review Aggregate Score — 94% (Universal Acclaim)

The character action subgenre of 3D action games can be divided into two distinct eras. There’s the genre before God of War came out, and then everything else. God of War takes the foundations for the character action genre popularized by Devil May Cry and runs with them, taking the violence, combat, and scale of the environments and enemies and turning each up to 11. the Greek mythology setting only serves to further support God of War‘s dramatically over-the-top feel, and Kratos is clearly a future star in the making right from the first moments of gameplay.

2. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas box art and gameplay

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  • Release Date — October 26, 2004
  • Publisher/Developer — Rockstar Games/Rockstar North
  • Review Aggregate Score — 95% (Universal Acclaim)

The last of the PS2-era trilogy of Grand Theft Auto games is also its best, taking the lessons learned from GTA III and Vice City to deliver one of the series’ best entries in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. What makes San Andreas such a pivotal game in the PS2 library is its size, presenting players with the most impressive and dense open-world sandbox that had been seen to date. Further, the level of immersion that San Andreas affords players was practically unheard of at that time, continuing to blur the lines between open-world action games and RPGs. Like Vice City before it, San Andreas is also a compelling period piece, only this time the setting and characters transport players to the gritty urban sprawl and gang violence of 1990s Los Angeles.

1. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

Metal Gear Solid 3 box art and gameplay

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  • Release Date — November 17, 2004
  • Publisher/Developer — Konami/Konami Computer Entertainment Japan
  • Review Aggregate Score — 91% (Universal Acclaim)

Fittingly, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater closes out the initial trilogy of Metal Gear Solid games with a bang. Only instead of continuing the saga of Solid Snake, players get to travel back to the Cold War and witness the formation of the series’ premier antagonist — Big Boss. Getting to step into the shoes of Solid Snake’s enemy and also witness how the character went from being a decorated war hero to an international supervillain is one of the greatest narratives in all of gaming, and its further supported by the phenomenal gameplay innovations that Metal Gear Solid 3 brings to the table.

While the first two games in the series placed players into cramped indoor environments, Metal Gear Solid 3 cuts players loose in the jungles of Asia, complete with a fully fleshed-out camouflage system that factors heavily into the title’s stealth action gameplay. Additionally, the incorporation of survival elements makes Big Boss’ (aka “Naked Snake”) trek to thwart nuclear war all the more intense. Every game in the Metal Gear Solid series is a noteworthy title, but Metal Gear Solid 3 is arguably Hideo Kojima’s masterpiece and the best game on the PS2.

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